Virginia Beach: Exploring "America's First Region"

April 27, 2017
Kerry Lengyel

Veterinarians Money Digest, April 2017, Volume 1, Issue 1

The Central Veterinary Conference in Virginia Beach (May 18–21) is around the corner. Here's where to eat, unwind and go in historic Virginia Beach.

The Central Veterinary Conference in Virginia Beach (May 18—21) is around the corner. We know you’ll be up to your ears in learning while there, but don’t forget — you’re in Virginia Beach. Late spring promises mild temperatures and no shortage of oceanview restaurants, lively bars and pubs, and adventurous outings to museums, parks, beaches, and more. Here’s your guide to the best of the best to see and do during your stay.

WHERE TO EAT

Virginia Beach has much to offer the gastronomically inclined, including fresh seafood and unbeatable ocean views.

  • Citrus Breakfast and Lunch: Touted as the best breakfast and lunch spot in Virginia Beach, Citrus Breakfast and Lunch is open seven days a week and offers an expansive menu that uses only fresh and local products. What a great way to start off the day!
  • Mannino’s Italian Bistro: Enjoy the signature crab soup in addition to delicious Italian dishes at Mannino’s Italian Bistro. Mannino’s offers two locations in Virginia Beach — one with a fantastic view of the ocean.
  • Blue Seafood and Spirits: Rated as one of the best seafood spots in all of Virginia Beach, Blue Seafood and Spirits is the place to go for some of the most creative dishes around. The place is quaint and small, so we suggest making a reservation before heading over.
  • Mahi Mah’s Seafood Restaurant: Located in the Ramada Hotel, Mahi Mah’s has ocean-front views, a huge deck and even a sushi saloon. Enjoy a laid-back beach vibe while feasting on some of the freshest seafood and sushi in town.
  • Firebrew Bar & Grill: Firebrew offers awesome happy hour specials in a relaxed tavern atmosphere. In addition to its self-service wine station and central open kitchen, the restaurant cooks 100 percent of its food over open flames or on the grill or stovetop — with zero microwaves or fryers in sight.
  • Catch 31: Stare out into the ocean while enjoying fresh, local seafood, succulent steaks and an incomparable raw bar at Catch 31. If you’re looking for a more upscale restaurant serving coastal comfort food, this is the place for you.
  • DOC Taylor’s Restaurant: Brunch anyone? DOC Taylor’s draws the weekend brunch crowds with its Southern eggs, grits and refreshing bloody marys. Set in an old cottage, you’ll enjoy a homey atmosphere while getting a great start to your day.
  • Lager Heads: This mellow restaurant serves some of the best burgers and brews in town. Enjoy nightly acoustic music on the patio while munching on one of its 10 signature burger creations and sipping any of the 20 beers on tap.

WHERE TO UNWIND

After a long day of learning and walking, you might want to grab a drink and put your feet up. Who would blame you? Virginia Beach offers pubs, taverns, oceanside bars and cocktail lounges galore.

  • Tinto: As one of the best wine bars in Virginia Beach, you can’t go wrong spending a few hours at Tinto. Pair charcuterie and cheese at this mom-and-pop eatery with a wide variety of wines for a perfect (and perfectly relaxing) night out.
  • 1608 Crafthouse: Find one of the largest selections of craft beers to delight your tongue and belly at 1608 Crafthouse. This gastropub offers a unique experience to sample some of the region’s best offerings in an affordable setting.
  • Frog Sports Bar and Grill: If you’re hankering for a nice place to hang out, grab a bite and have a drink, then Frog Sports Bar and Grill is for you. A well-stocked bar manned by friendly staff complements the plethora of televisions, pool tables and dart stations.
  • 11th Street Taphouse Bar & Grille: This spot is one of the best after-work drink locations — which means it’s also one of the best after-a-long-day-at-the-conference drink locations. The Grille offers beer, mixed drinks and wine in a fun and lively environment.
  • Lynnhaven Pub: Who doesn’t love a good dive bar? If you’re looking for a local, low-key spot, Lynnhaven Pub should be on your list. Enjoy one of the various brews on the pub’s beer list, which takes up three pages of the menu alone.
  • Ultra Craft Cocktails: This upscale and sophisticated cocktail bar features an extensive craft cocktail selection. Sip on a delicious concoction in an intimate ocean-front environment with direct access to the Virginia Beach boardwalk.

WHERE TO GO

Why not stay an extra day (or two) before or after the conference and take advantage of some of the area’s best attractions? Explore museums, walk the beaches, hike far-reaching trails or do just about a zillion other things.

  • Virginia Beach Boardwalk: Named by Travel + Leisure as one of America’s Best Boardwalks, this 3-mile concrete promenade is always bustling with tourists, locals, and people-watchers alike. So eat, shop, bike, blade or otherwise explore at will.
  • Military Aviation Museum: Forty thousand guests travel from all over the world each year to visit the Military Aviation Museum. Take a flight in an open cockpit biplane, see World War I and World War II aircrafts that still fly and learn about the heroes of military aviation.
  • Sandbridge Beach: If you want to spend some time in the sand while you’re in Virginia Beach — but far from the madding crowd — check out the hidden jewel of Sandbridge Beach. This quaint coastal community located at the northern end of the Outer Banks offers golf, fishing, surfing, parks, shopping and, most important, 5 miles of pristine, peaceful golden sands.
  • First Landing State Park: Noted as the site where English colonists first landed in 1607, this 2,700-acre park features hiking trails, cypress swamps and nesting grounds for a variety of birds. If you’re a nature lover, you won’t want to miss your chance to explore this natural wonder.
  • Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center: With 10,000 animals and 800,000 gallons of water, the aquariums and habitats here offer extraordinary views of sharks, stingrays and many other aquatic species. You can also navigate the zipline aerial experience from the trees at Adventure Park.
  • Cape Henry Lighthouse: Cape Henry marks the southern entrance to Chesapeake Bay in Virginia. Its lighthouse, built in 1792, is located within Fort Story military base. You can take a walking tour inside and around the lighthouse and can even explore the lantern room.
  • Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art: Featuring regularly changing exhibitions in painting, sculpture, photography, glass and other visual media, this museum puts an emphasis on interactivity and hands-on fun.
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